Open Garden Day Chez Moi


Last Saturday it suddenly occurred to me that after weeks of moving plants around and the construction of a privacy screen, my garden was finally looking good. And it would stay that way through July 4, when a slew of old friends would be gathering for our yearly reunion.

Plus, the forecast for the weekend was perfect – high ’80s, low humidity, and no chance of rain.  So I figured why not invite neighbors to see my garden’s progress and maybe get some ideas.  The inviting took about 5 minutes via local Yahoo and Facebook groups, and the next afternoon local gardeners and gardener-wannabees stopped by and made those sounds of approval and delight that gardeners frankly love to hear.

I took note of some of their favorite plants and garden spots, and here are the ones I could hear and remember.  I like their taste.


This little space between the porch and the privacy screen my neighbors built seemed to be everyone’s favorite part of the garden.  The vine is Bignonia (Crossvine) and the groundcovers are Creeping Jenny on the left and Sedum takesimense on the right.

Not long ago I posted photos of it to this blog, asking for suggestions, and got some great ones.  Next I posted photos before and after staining the screen that forest green.


Writing about this spot prompted me to find the “before” photo from the fall of 2011 when I bought the house.  It was filled with scruffy, misshapen azaleas and some weeds.


Another spot people stopped to comment on was in front of this pot of coleus – such a gorgeous color, they exclaimed!  Yes indeed, and that’s just one plant.


More coleus containers people commented on.

Now about the Tibetan prayer flags.  I hung them to give the back yard extra screening while the four Cryptomerias are growing up, and now that they’re tattered and faded, I’ve come to love them.  Turns out, I’m not the only one.   


And here’s the entrance to the garden from the rear sidewalk (interior, backyard sidewalks are iconic here in Historic Greenbelt, MD, and unique among planned communities, I’m told).  On the left is the aforementioned privacy screen that I’ll stain green to match the other one as soon as the wood has dried out a bit.  It’s in the same style as the one my neighbor built, only shorter and more open.


I had a wonderful time during the Open Garden just meeting, greeting, and talking gardening, and was delighted to be sent the link to this blog post about my garden from one of camera-wielding visitors, who happens to be a local blogger.  The light was so harsh, I didn’t expect her to get any decent shots but she used her close-up lens to shoot scenes I never even see.  What gardener doesn’t love seeing their garden from someone else’s eyes and camera viewfinder?

Open Gardens are Great

Casual Open Garden events are so easy, so social, and really helpful to new and experienced gardens alike – that’s the pitch I made to the community when I invited them to this one and encouraged them to host their own.  Three people have already declared their intention to do it.  Sure, they’ll wait until their garden looks its best, and the weather forecast favorable but hey, they intend!  I kept refreshments down to the easiest possible offering – lemonade, nuts and grapes.

Anybody else ever put on an Open Garden event, or go to one?  Thoughts, suggestions?


  1. WOW you did a great job, your garden makeover looks nice!! The wall painted green , great idea, love the coleus’ too! I’m new to your blog so I look forward to reading more. I sadly about 6 months ago had to move to the city in a apt. so now I have not garden 🙁 I do have containers that I’ve planted Canna’s, Lilies, and Tomatoes. nothing too exciting but it’s a start..

  2. I like that idea, Susan. How did you phrase your invitation, so that it didn’t just seem like you were fishing for compliments from the neighbors? How many people came through your garden?

    • I invited the community to an Open Garden (with initial caps, like it’s a Thing), and in the next graf invited others to do the same and proclaimed these events to be easy and social, and a great opportunity for getting ideas for your own garden. Susan

  3. We have held our Annual Rose Viewing for nearly 30 years now – and there wasn’t much to see in the beginning. We sent out this invitation because it is fun to share the garden, and fun to share information – in my case about what roses can survive our climate and teach people that you can have beautiful roses without lots of poisons. I figure you don’t expect houseguests to do a white glove inspection when they visit, and I don’t expect visitors to my garden to be too tough about any failings they may see. At least not to my face.

  4. I had my garden on VMG = “Visit a Master Gardener” tour last spring. It was a lot of work, because it being my first time, I wanted everything to be perfect. If/when I do it again I will not stress so much, just let people visit and learn.

  5. I love to throw a “garden party” at the end of the school year (I work in education) and I, too, keep the refreshments simple and the time unstructured. It’s a great incentive to get my major spring garden chores done early; once the heavy lifting is done I can then enjoy it for the rest of the summer with just a bit of deadheading and light weeding.


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